Planning to make an announcement at a trade show? Showcasing a cool new product? Got a story to tell?
If this is your first time approaching the media for meetings at your booth, we have some tips on how you can effectively do so. And, perhaps gain new relationships that will last even after the show.
But how do you tell the media? Here are our top tips to arrange media meets at your trade show booth.
1. Do your homework.
The same way your sales team would check the delegate list for prospective leads, take time to scan the media list and identify the publications who are most relevant to your company and the stories you have to tell.
Before you reach out to the journalists, take a look at their social media profiles and articles they have written - besides from finding out about the types of stories they like to write about, you might have a common interest outside of work. You can use this insight to weave into conversations when appropriate.
2. Touching base.
Start with an email to briefly introduce yourself, your company and spokesperson, the reason behind getting in touch, and 3-4 key points your spokesperson can elaborate on during the meeting.
Remember the research you did before? You can put the findings to good use by including the pointers you know will interest the writer.
Try to keep your emails short and as straightforward as possible, with a clear call-to-action. Journalists receive a number of media pitches everyday so when sifting through their inbox, they will be less likely to read content that is too long or indirect.
3. Follow up.
Once you've sent the first email, give the journalist a few days to get back to you. If you don’t hear anything by the second or third day, give them a courtesy call to follow up.
This is when you will find out whether they are keen, need more time to review, or are just not interested.
If they are keen, great – schedule the meeting and find out about the angles or questions they’d like to explore.
If they need more time, give them just that and follow up again in the next few days.
If they are not interested, try to find out why and if you are able to change their minds. If that’s still not possible, fret not, keep the contact and try again another time.
Journalists have different preferences on how they want to approach meeting opportunities, and through the conversations you may find out details that would be useful for future reference.
4. Prepare for the meeting.
Once you’ve secured the media meetings, remember to prepare your spokesperson beforehand so that you’ll give the writer a good story angle.
List out your key messages and the top five points you’d like to convey to the media. Put them into a briefing document, along with details of the media and writer, and send to the spokesperson ahead of time. It is also useful to factor in some time before each meeting to conduct a pre-meeting briefing session. That would enable the spokesperson to run through the notes a final time and ask any questions they have in mind.
Although it is very difficult to predict how meetings will pan out until they are actually in session, having prepared for it will enable your spokesperson to stay calm and effectively convey the messages and key points to the writer.
5. Create a comfortable space.
At the meeting venue, there should at least be a table and chairs to enable the writer to comfortably take notes. As for the number of people in the meeting itself? It should just be the journalist, the spokesperson and the interview coordinator. Having too many people in the meeting may cause discomfort among the people directly involved.
Bonus points: Preparing bottled water and some light snacks will help to soften the mood. And who knows, they may just quench some thirsts!
6. Build the relationship.
Ok, so now the journalist is at your booth and they are almost done talking to your spokesperson. So what now?
We always find it helpful to spend some time with the writer to get to know them better. Ask questions like how their day is going, how they are finding the show, and what they have observed so far. Sometimes they may have some time to chat, so that is the best time to build the relationship. However, there are also times when they need to rush off to another meeting, so you’ll need to end the conversation, but not before exchanging your contact details or business cards.
After the show, and depending on the rapport you’ve built, feel free to email them or give them a call to do a quick catch up and to see if they need anything else for their story.
Remember, try not to push them for coverage. Instead, suss out if they are working towards a specific deadline and thereafter give them the time to develop the story.
And there you have it, hopefully you are now ready to reach out to the media ahead of your next trade show. If you'd like to talk to us about trade show support, please get in touch or click here to see a few more tips on trade-show success.